Handing Out ACC Awards and Superlatives

Posted by Matt Patton on March 8th, 2016

The chips have fallen where they did, so it’s time to take a look back at the best the ACC had to offer this season.

First Team All-ACC

Malcolm Brogdon Has Helped the Cavs Turn the Corner (Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty)

Malcolm Brogdon gets the slight nod for conference player of the year honors. (Joe Robbins/Getty)

  • Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia (POY)
  • Brice Johnson, North Carolina
  • Grayson Allen, Duke
  • Cat Barber, NC State
  • Demetrius Jackson, Notre Dame

With 15 ACC teams from which to choose, the normal difficulty of selecting a first team was mitigated by Brogdon, Johnson, Allen and Barber being virtual locks. Brogdon gets the nod for ACC Player of the Year over Johnson for his outstanding defense, but it was a close race. The senior is the best player to suit up for Tony Bennett’s team in recent memory thanks to his incredible efficiency and on-ball defense. It’s certainly possible that these four players end up on several All-American teams, although Barber will lose some votes because of NC State’s lack of success this year. The wild card is Notre Dame’s Jackson. I went back and forth here. The media and coaches chose Clemson’s Jaron Blossomgame, but Jackson won the eye test for me. He was a tremendous pure point guard for the Irish this year, and Mike Brey’s team would have likely ended up in the bottom third of the conference without him.

Second Team All-ACC

  • Michael Gbinije, Syracuse
  • Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson
  • Anthony Gill, Virginia
  • Michael Young, Pittsburgh
  • Damion Lee, Louisville

Gbinije, Blossomgame and Gill were head and shoulders above Young and Lee. The first two took on greatly augmented roles this season, playing as deluxe Swiss Army Knives for teams that overachieved.

Third Team All-ACC

If this is indeed Brandon Ingram's only season at Duke, he sure made it a great one. (Duke Athletics)

If this is indeed Brandon Ingram’s only season at Duke, he sure made it a great one. (Duke Athletics)

  • Sheldon McClellan, Miami
  • Brandon Ingram, Duke
  • Zach Auguste, Notre Dame
  • Devin Thomas, Wake Forest
  • Zach Leday, Virginia Tech

Honorable Mention: Marcus Georges-Hunt, London Perrantes, Angel Rodriguez, Jamel Artis.

How did Miami, the #2 seed in the ACC Tournament, end up with only one player on these three teams? Great balance didn’t help (nor did Tonye Jekiri’s offense), nor did the sheer firepower in this conference. Leday and Thomas both deserve credit for getting the most out of their supporting staffs — especially the former. A gradual slide as the conference season progressed doomed Florida State’s talented freshmen, but both Malik Beasley and Dwayne Bacon could wind up first team all-ACC next year if they return..

Most Improved: Grayson Allen

Allen didn’t win this award with the media (Blossomgame did) probably because of elevated expectations following his NCAA Tournament outburst last year, but the media might have a point. Allen was on the bench of a National Championship team, whereas Blossomgame was the best player on a below-average team. Maybe it’s less of a surprise that Allen became one of the best scorers in the country than Blossomgame leading Clemson to a respectable ACC finish? In the end, Allen’s ridiculous statistical improvements won me over, but don’t let that be a slight to Blossomgame’s season.

Freshman of the Year: Brandon Ingram

Not much else to be said here. Ingram was significantly better than the rest of the ACC’s rookie class. There’s a reason that he’s slated to go in the top three of this June’s NBA Draft.

Coach of the Year: Buzz Williams

Maybe I just don’t like Clemson (weirdly, the media didn’t like Brad Brownell either). To me, this award came down to Brownell and Buzz Williams because both greatly exceeded expectations this season. Williams was more impressive mainly because it seemed like he was winning everything with fool’s gold.

mpatton (576 Posts)

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